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Tuesday, November 14, 2006 Lebanon cabinet approves Hariri tribunal amidst political uncertainty

Lebanon’s cabinet approved a UN draft proposal for an international judicial tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri but six pro-Syrian cabinet members have resigned since Sunday, possibly rendering the cabinet decision invalid. Lebanon’s constitution [text] requires that the cabinet include representatives from all Lebanese political factions when making decisions. The other 18 cabinet members, however, approved the tribunal plan, satisfying the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of the cabinet must support an action for it to be legitimate. The UN submitted the international tribunal proposal to Lebanon last week, and now Lebanon will return the .draft to the UN Security Council for final authorization
Previous reports by the UN’s Hariri investigatory commission implicated Syrian officials in the assassination, accomplished in a massive explosion on the Beirut waterfront killed Hariri and 22 others. The UN is authorized to help Lebanon establish a tribunal to oversee prosecutions in the case under UN Security Council Resolution 1644